Continued from Zombie Gremlins

Here’s a game of Zombie Gremlin Ping Pong, the proverbial echo chamber I mentioned the previous essay, played out over the course of thousands of years:

  • Master Morality Strongmen like Genghis Khan run roughshod over the known world. No one can stop him, his men have the best lives and most reproductive success. I hear 5% of the modern world population can trace their ancestry back to him. The traits that make him and his army successful: strength, cunning, ruthlessness—all become virtues.

    The mythology of those cultures have pantheons of powerful, petty gods doing as they please. Might makes right; the stronger you are, the more right you are.

    It starts as a description: powerful people can do whatever they want because no one can stop them. That’s “Master Morality.” It ends up a post hoc rationalization, a prescription: powerful people are given the right by god to do whatever they want, and their power is just proof of that divine right. That’s “Divine Master Morality.”

  • Slave Morality Like a rebellious Jehovah’s Witness girl turning gothic Wiccan, slave morality forms in impotent rebellion against the repression of the oppressive masters. Weak people become the virtuous meek people, strength becomes pride, surrendering shows true strength.

    The mythology of these cultures call for subservience above all else, the pinnacle of human existence is acknowledging your intrinsic worthlessness and yoking yourself to the one, correct master. In other words, “Divine Slave Morality.”

  • Secular Humanism Cue the Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution, and people aren’t so comfortable with the notion of God the Father anymore. “It’s a fairy tale!,” they say.

    Slave morality is the zombie gremlin of master morality because it says: “You think God gave you the right to be powerful, but you’re wrong. God gave you the power to be subservient!” It never questions the fundamental premise.

    Secular Humanism is the zombie gremlin of slave morality because it says: “You think God gave you the power to serve others selflessly, but you’re wrong. You can serve others selflessly without God, because it’s self evidently the right thing to do!” It also never questions the fundamental premise. It’s the Judeo-Christian moral system with an alternative cosmogeny.

    It’s just “Slave Morality” minus the divinity. It legitimizes that belief structure, and all the baggage that goes with it.

  • Nihilism And then comes the dark night of the soul.

    Everything in this ping pong game so far as derived from one fact: sufficiently strong people can do whatever they want and get away with it. We started with that core, built a veneer of divine credibility around it, lost the core when we turned the veneer inside out to favor subservience, then we got rid of the divine veneer and found nothing left at the center. And now we’re left with nothing.

2.

But Nihilism is also a sophomoric whack of the paddle in this game of ping pong. If we want to subvert the whole premise of the question we must ask: When we say that we “should” do something, we are assigning value to actions. But what is value? What is valuable?

And the fundamental context for that question that we still have not collectively risen above is: Who has *authority to determine value?* In other words, what outside force or system or person shall we look to for this answer?

Nihilists got part of the way when they discovered that there is no outside source of meaning, no external authority. But they stopped short in their navel gazing.

3.

You are the child of a blind, idiot god who shat you onto a tiny sandbar in an ocean of chaos. You’re just a byproduct of your god’s senseless fumbling.

There is no higher authority than you. It is you, and you alone who can claim authorship over value and meaning and morality. You will either forge your vision from the raw chaos, or you will be co-opted into a bit part in some other author’s vision.

You are among a legion of weavers creating a tapestry, and the mark you leave can be a shape you choose, like a premise for other people to implicitly accept and mold themselves around. Or you will be formed implicitly from the shapes around you, created by others. It’s your choice.

escher-shapes